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Summary: We know the goal, but we keep running off down "rabbit trails." We keep letting ourselves be distracted away from the important things.

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Bill Bright tells the story of a farmer who told his wife he was going out to plow the "south forty."

He got off to an early start so he could oil the tractor. He needed more oil, so he went to the shop to get it. On the way to the shop he noticed the pigs weren’t fed. So he proceeded to the corn crib, where he found some sacks of feed. The sacks reminded him that his potatoes were sprouting. Then when he started for the potato pit, he passed the woodpile and remembered that his wife wanted wood in the house. As he picked up a few sticks, an ailing chicken passed by. He dropped the wood and picked up the chicken.

When evening arrived, the frustrated farmer had not plowed the “south forty” nor had he done anything else. The diagnosis for that is ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), which is the inability to focus on one thing for any period of time.

Have you ever intended to do something you knew was very important, but found yourself in a similar situation - - distracted by many other seemingly important tasks, which kept you from accomplishing your main objective?

Distraction is a common temptation to keep us from doing what is most important. Yes, all these little things may be important, but if we are not careful we will find ourselves drifting aimlessly from one project to another without really doing anything. We need to be focused.

I’ll never forget the story of an efficiency expert who walked into Andrew Carnegie’s office with an offer. He told Carnegie he would give him an idea and later Carnegie could send him a check for whatever he thought the idea might be worth. A few weeks later Carnegie sent the man a check for $25,000.

It was a simple idea to number a card from 1 to 10 and list the things he needed to do that day in the order of their importance. Start with 1 and work down the list until the day was over.

The next morning he numbered the card 1 to 10 filling in what was left undone yesterday and adding new tasks for today….

Jesus expects everyone who calls his name to set certain priorities; God first, spouse second, children third, and ministry fourth. We all should prioritize our lives in this manner, and stay focused. Then when we are on our way to our "south forty," we will not be distracted by the likes of pigs, wood piles and sick chickens in our lives.

What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it—we’re called children of God! That’s who we really are. But that’s also why the world doesn’t recognize us or take us seriously, because it has no idea who he is or what he’s up to.

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I spent five years as the chaplain and resource development director of a treatment center for abused children; watching, praying for, and working with children from dysfunctional families. I learned a lot about being a normal family…

Families are dysfunctional when they go off in every direction, when every person in the family has his or her own agenda. Families are “normal” when they have some common goal or purpose. The last thing I asked Mary Ella before we left Thomasville was, “Do you want to go?” If she had said “no,” we would not be here. If God is calling me to move, he will call Mary Ella too.


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